Friday, April 20, 2012

Alabama Folk School: Gee's bend Workshop

WOW.  That's what I can say about my week in Alabama. WOW.  I went down to sew with two of the Gee's Bend quilters,  with a bunch of my pals, (above: (LtoR) me, Mary Ann Pettway(pink), Mary , China Pettway(plaid) Tina, Kim, Nifty and Bonnie).  Kim and I flew from NYC to Nashville, and drove down to the Alabama Folk School to meet up with the east coast gals. We sewed our little hearts out!  I went down there, wide open to the experience, having a feeling , that for me, it would be as close to "Spiritual Awakening" as I can get... I guarantee you, it was all that and more.

We arrived and set up our machines, and basically just dove right in to "MAKING" anything...whatever came up. "Pick and start sewing, there's no rules."  said Mary Ann...  That was l we needed to get us going. No need to tell us twice! ;-)

Nifty took on a beautiful project working with her own baby clothes, Elouisa did hand piecing with whatever moved her.

Barbara was open to "Breaking out of the box" and welcomed free piecing as a natural. Here she getting some lovely advice from China.

Cathy was delightful and created some beautiful blocks from her Hand dyed fabrics. Beautiful saturated colors, that made us all week in the knees.

Mary used "Boxers" cut up, and looked for inspiration through some Vintage Bark cloth that she had. She mad ea beautiful quilt top that already has a well loved look.

With just my scissors,  I got down on my hands and knees and went to work... Here a cut, there a cut, everywhere a cut cut...  ( finished pics will come in tomorrow's posts)
Tina worked with fabrics that reminded her of her mother... Navy and white. There was creative passion everywhere.
Cherrye, (standing) made a promise with her mother that they would learn sewing.  But then her mother passed away, and recently decided that she would go on an learn to sew. She arrived with a sewing machine still in the box and had not taken it out yet to learn how to use it... Not only did she learn to sew a top together, she learned to hand quilt it too.. Here she is enjoying watching Marry Ann and China teach her how to hand quilt, on her top.   Magic, I tell ya... Pure magical moments...

There is a beautiful church at the camp, Kim and I popped in to see... The SMELL of the wood was amazing, and then we saw the alter... A Gee's bend quilt...

Every one of these women at the workshop were Amazing Women, with amazing stories to tell. We laughed, we cried and we shared ourselves, and it was truly the Spiritual Adventure I was hoping for. ( Have your emotions, that's what they are for. (or so I am told, Wink to Bonnie) 

There is POWER in women, I tell you...Healing Power, Passion Power, Creative Power.
If you haven't found that power... Put that at the top of your bucket list...It's a journey worth experiencing.

If you find yourself at a fork in the road... Which way will you choose?  hehe...

to be continued...


  1. What a wonderful experience to have and share with the other ladies. I love that tree of life on the wall.


  2. What a powerful message! I wish I could hear all those amazing stories. Glad I chose quilting at the fork in my I want to go to Gee's Bend, too!

  3. Sounds like an amazing journey and workshop and group experience! I have a friend who works with intuitive painting and it sounds like a very similar process. Thank goodness for sewable emotions!
    Looking forward to see more pictures.

  4. What a wonderful, inspiring post! That looks like quilter's heaven.

  5. Oh I am so envious - what an amazing experience. I simply love the Gee`s Bend quilts and would love one day to meet some of the makers! What an amazing trip!

  6. I've been anticipating this post, it gave me goose bumps. Sounds amazing, can't wait to see/hear more.

  7. Wonderful post... What a dream trip! Please tell us more!

  8. Looks like an absolutely excellent trip! I am glad you had a good time!

  9. What an amazing opportunity and thanks for sharing. I have always been in awe ot the Women of Gees Bend and would love to visit.
    Love all the creativity and can feel the passion in your writing.

  10. wow! thanks for sharing this with us.

  11. Oh my goodness -- what an amazing time you had, what amazing things you all are creating! I am so grateful to you for sharing with us your experience.
    I am also very happy to ut a face with Niftyquilts. :-)

  12. So glad that you ALL had a wonderful time! I was thinking of each and everyone of you everyday. I really missed being there with you. But there was definitely no shortage on creativity and bonding. What a fantastic place. Can I convince you to go back again someday?

  13. Incredible! And what an experience for you and your friends. I've loved reading this post, thanks V. xo

  14. I am so happy that you had a great time at wonderful wonderful Camp McDowell.

  15. I'm so sorry I didn't make it to come see you while you were "in the neck of our woods". We had put our house on the market and it sold immediately and just couldn't manage to make a side trip. I am so glad you loved the experience. I hope you loved the music, too.

    I wonder if you were surprised at how pretty Alabama is?

  16. Wish I could have shared in this experience.

  17. On my daughter's 10th birthday almost 8 years ago, I chaperoned her 5th grade field trip to the Gee's Bend show at the MFA in Boston. It was an unforgettable day. I am so inspired by their quilts. Thanks for sharing your wonderful experience! I look forward to seeing more!

  18. Misty eyes as I read today's post - those videos with the singing are powerful stuff, yet so simple happy you had this experience. Sounds like you breathed in and soaked up every drop of it! :)


Hi! Thanks for leaving me a comment!
I appreciate your taking the time to say hi!
Have a fabulous day!